# Computing projection onto the following closed convex set

Let $$\mathbf{S}^n$$ denote the space of symmetric, real-valued $$n \times n$$ matrices.

Consider the closed convex set

$$\mathcal{C} := \{(X, x) \in \mathbf{S}^n \times \mathbf{R}^n : X \succeq xx^T, ~ \mathbf{tr}(X) \leq 1\},$$ where $$\succeq$$ above denotes the positive semidefinite (Lowner) order, and $$\mathbf{tr}(\cdot)$$ denotes trace.

I would like to compute the Euclidean projection onto this set, i.e., I wonder if there is a closed form for the following operator, $$\mathrm{proj}: \mathbf{S}^n \times \mathbf{R}^n \to \mathcal{C}$$, which is variationally given by $$\mathrm{proj}(Z, z) = {\mathrm{argmin}}_{(X, x) \in \mathcal{C}} \left(\frac{1}{2}\|Z - X\|_F^2 + \frac{1}{2}\|z - x\|_2^2 \right),$$ where above $$\|\cdot\|_F$$ denotes the Frobenius norm.

• Nice Problem! May I ask the real world application – dineshdileep Apr 25 at 9:02

## 1 Answer

First note since $$X \succeq xx^T \Leftrightarrow \begin{bmatrix} X & x \\ x^T & 1 \end{bmatrix} \succeq 0$$, it makes sense to look at the problem as one in $$S^{n+1}$$. Let $$P_1, P_2$$ be linear projections from $$S^{n+1}$$ to $$S^{n} \times R^n$$ and $$R$$ respectively: $$P_1 \left( \begin{bmatrix} X & x \\ x^T & y \end{bmatrix} \right) := (X,x), \quad P_2 \left( \begin{bmatrix} X & x \\ x^T & y \end{bmatrix} \right) := y$$

So then define the subsets of $$S^{n+1}$$: \begin{aligned} D_1 &:= \{ W \in S^{n+1} : W \succeq 0, ~ tr(W) \le 2\}\\ D_2 &:= \{ W \in S^{n+1} : P_2(W) = 1\} \end{aligned} Then the intersection of these is equivalent to $$C$$ in the following sense: $$(X,x) \in C \Leftrightarrow P_1^T(X,x) + P_2^T(1) \in D_1 \cap D_2$$ Note that it is possible to project onto $$D_1$$ using eigenvalue decomposition and projection onto $$D_2$$ is trivial, since it's just a plane. So we can almost get a closed form expression for the projection onto the intersection.

Using the notation $$\Pi_A (z) = \mathrm{argmin}_{x \in A} \|x-z\|^2$$ for nonlinear projection onto a set, we have:

$$\Pi_C (Z,z) = P_1\left( \Pi_{D_1} \left( \begin{bmatrix} Z & z \\ z^T & y^* \end{bmatrix} \right) \right)$$ Where $$y^*$$ is the value satisfies the following: $$1 = P_2\left( \Pi_{D_1} \left( \begin{bmatrix} Z & z \\ z^T & y^* \end{bmatrix} \right) \right)$$ This can be solved numerically via a 1-dimensional root-finding method. I'm not sure if it's possible to avoid calculating a full eigenvalue decomposition every time you project onto to $$D_1$$.